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Lost grammar: where did it all go wrong?

Discussion in 'Obsessions and Interests' started by Hollow Horse, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    oie_EGhaN0v0Iv27.jpg There isn't much that irritates me more than poor grammar which is commonplace in the media and portrayed by pundits who really ought to know better.

    And it's made worse by the fact that is going unchallenged. I wonder why companies like Sky Sports and the radio station talkSPORT are either unaware or simply do not care.

    I wonder what is being taught in our schools and where this has fallen down. Children copy adults and so maybe this is where the fault lies. They think it is correct to use OF instead of HAVE and THEM instead of THOSE.

    You see it on forums too and it drives me insane. I am tempted to be pedantic and quote but I resist.

    I tweeted TALKSPORT earlier about guest Dean Saunders who was talking about Manchester United, saying that they had "done well in THEM games"

    "I should OF done that" instead of "I should HAVE done that" is another mystery and irritant.

    I wonder WHEN this laziness and illiteracy first crept in.

    Sorry, but there really is no cause for such inept use of grammar.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It can bother me at times, like when someone describes a person on the spectrum as being an 'Asberger'.
     
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  3. Anarkitty

    Anarkitty Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I write grammar books. :D We're in complete agreement.

    Mostly, though, I get irritated at the schools when I see that kind of thing. I don't blame the people who were simply never taught properly in the first place. I know from my own school years that many students are simply not being taught grammar anymore. I was in gifted English classes throughout middle and high school, and we only covered grammar in a cursory fashion. For instance, I didn't learn rules concerning comma usage between independent and dependent clauses until I was actually writing about grammar and therefore needed to research the information. Teachers were quick to mark commas, or the lack of commas, as incorrect without ever explaining why they were incorrect.

    And teachers taught me not to ask questions about things like this. I was confused about why I had an answer marked as incorrect once, so I asked my teacher. She answered me, but she also noticed another error while looking again at my paper, so the end result was that my grade was lower!

    At the same time, there are a number of "rules" that are frequently taught that grammarians do not accept as valid, like not ending a sentence with a preposition, and a few places where certain stylistic preferences are sometimes treated as absolute rules when they're really not. So I probably come down somewhere in the middle between prescriptivism and descriptivism.

    I do recognize that rigid thinking is present here for me. For instance, I argued against they used with a singular antecedent for a long time. It was only after the dictionaries actually changed their definitions that I was able to let that one go. :p I do find it difficult to let go of this kind of thing once my brain has determined a right way and a wrong way.
     
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  4. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    Add The Jeremy Kyle Show to the conundrum then it's no wonder our children don't stand a chance!
     
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  5. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    Is it a hard or soft G in Aspergers? I'm not sure but use a soft G if I say the word.
     
  6. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about this a little more in context, I am more convinced that the symptoms I described are more an auditory issue than a written one?

    Somewhere down the line "have" has been replaced with "of" and "those" with "them" although there is far less similarity with those two words.
     
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  7. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I used to correct people all the time. I know I annoyed my wife to no end.

    Then I listened to the A Way With Words radio show / podcast for a while and I changed my views. The critical change was that there are:

    Proscriptivists
    - People who believe that the purpose of dictionaries and language reference books is to tell people how to use the language correctly. If a word is commonly used to mean something other than what the dictionary says, then that usage is wrong and should be stamped out.

    Descriptivists - People who believe that the purpose of dictionaries and language reference books is to document how the language is being used. If a word is commonly used to mean something other than what the dictionary says, then the dictionary must be updated.

    In school, everyone has dealt with teachers who are proscriptivists. We leave school with the idea that there is one and only one proper way to speak and write the language. There are a few problems with the proscriptivist approach:

    1) Either a rule evolved organically or someone in authority made the rule. If the rule evolved organically, why can't the language continue to evolve? If someone made the rule, what gave them the authority to make a rule about the language and enforce it on everyone else. The Never-End-A-Sentence-With-A-Preposition rule is one such rule that someone made up and everyone followed for a while. The tide is turning against that rule now and it's more commonly cited as an example of a useless and capricious rule than it is cited as a rule that everyone should follow.

    2) The language is constantly changing underneath our feet and that we adapt without even thinking about it. We naturally adopt slang like "cool" and "uber", retronyms like "brick and mortar" and neologisms like "to google". Did we get permission from the proscriptivists before doing so? Nope.

    So, in informal contexts - regular conversations, texts, informal emails, twitter, blogs, etc. - I am a descriptivist. The only times I am a hard-core proscriptivist is in professional or technical writing. In that context, I will rail against bad English as much as you.
     
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  8. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Welcomer of Newcomers V.I.P Member

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    pretty sure it's a hard G; the same G sound if you were to say Glove. The "Guh" sound.
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I believe I have only heard it pronounced with a hard G.
     
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  10. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Enjoying life and glad to be alive! V.I.P Member

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    now i have grammar anxiety!
     
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  11. oregano

    oregano Judgment day #1: 27/9/2021 V.I.P Member

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    @Nervous Rex took the words out of my mouth. Language always evolves. It is never static. The only exceptions would be when a language is used in religious liturgy. Catholicism still uses 4th century Latin, Islam 7th century Arabic. But those are not used in any other way.

    When Hebrew went from a static liturgical language used only by rabbis to the official language of the modern State of Israel, it too began to evolve. Even the Hebrew alphabet evolved-compare the script used in Torah scrolls to that in everyday use in Israel. Arabic as spoken in modern Saudi Arabia is very different from the language used in the Quran.

    Outside of religion, compare the English of the Canterbury Tales or even of the Declaration of Independence to modern English. In America the English used by urban Blacks is evolving into a separate language, sometimes called Ebonics. And then there's Afrikaans, spoken by descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa. Afrikaans evolved into a separate language in the space of only about 300 years. The evolution of Ebonics is even faster-it only started to break away from "White English" in the 1950s, among the newly formed Black urban underclasses of industrial centers like Chicago, Detroit, and Oakland, Cal.

    I fully expect that the widespread use of English around the world will follow the pattern of Latin after the fall of Rome once the American Empire also ceases to exist-it will break into numerous dialects and eventually be incorporated into local languages. This is already happening in South Korea to such an extent that the "pure" Korean spoken in the North is very different from the "Konglish" of Seoul.
     
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  12. Clueless in Canada

    Clueless in Canada Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I confess I have jumped to my response without reading others so may simply be repeating what others have said. My opinion is based on being a former elementary school teacher, a holder of an English Lit degree, a generally pedantic person and over fifty years old. Teaching grammar and spelling is losing out to science and tech in schools and even to physical education. Public school is constantly under great pressure to keep up with the times, produce citizens equipped for the job market that exists currently and to make up for the social problems of the times and yet the school day does not get any longer and nor does the school year. Something has to be given up in order to add new things. Where I live the push for technology and fitness are so strong and nobody is yet convinced math skills are not useful so those things remain a focus. Literacy is slipping. We live in a time when many people simply do not read much and so they hear words spoken but do not see them written. This leads to mispronunciations, misspelling and misuse of terms such as 'weary' instead of 'wary'. Much of the written content now available is full of errors too because anyone can self-publish online. And finally, language does change and mutate and not always in logical ways. It has been doing so, and pedantic people have been complaining about it as far back as the 1700s and quite probably earlier.
     
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  13. FreeDiver

    FreeDiver How long can you hold your breath? V.I.P Member

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    If you want good grammar. then why don't they drop this stupid hard and soft sound crap. If you want a soft "G"? The replace it with "J" like "jenerator" or "jiant". We can also drop the letter "C" from the alphabet and just assign it's soft sound to the letter "S", like "senter" or "sigarette", and it's hard sound to "K" like "kat" or "kall".
     
  14. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    In formal contexts, such as professional writing, it matters. Pretty much all other areas, I don't mind. I have the opposite view. It's fun to say something like, "Look at them people over there," every once in a while. Being affected by issues like this is, in my view, a decision to be unhappy.

    But also, I tend to use proper grammar, as a matter of personal preference and habit.
     
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  15. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    For years I wrote the equipment installation/operation/service manuals for the company I work for. I made sure the grammar was excellent. Spelling and grammar were things I was very good at. Reading comprehension and creative writing not so much.

    But for online forums, I don't go so far. For a chatroom, I go even more informal. The level of grammar correctness I use makes me feel differently. I could make everything I post be perfect, but then I'd feel like I'm a professor in a suit and tie, which to me is out of place unless I'm publishing something official, or getting paid for my work.

    In person, I have gotten used to dumbing myself down to attempt to fit in when it comes to informal situations. If I try to be grammatically correct then I feel even more out of place than I already do.

    I notice many things written wrong, but they don't upset me. I don't like to be the grammar police, or any other type of police. People have enough real problems in their lives.

    Also, how one speaks or writes I think is part of what identifies them, and I like seeing that. I think if everyone wrote perfectly, we would all sound pretty much the same.
     
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  16. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    You'll have to ask the jrammar nazis.
     
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  17. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As soon as I see an error in an article I am reading, it loses impact for me, but in truth, my grammer is not perfect either, due to lack of schooling, but being online, actually has helped to improve it and rather strangely, I am better with big words, than small ones!

    Also, we tend to write how we talk.
     
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  18. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    I don't mind being wrong but I have always thought it a soft G.

    To me a hard G doesn't sound right.

    But the true answer may lie in the pronounciation of Dr. Hans Asperger?
     
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  19. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    Why stop there? We could even alter the calendar and add new months like Augcember!

     
  20. Hollow Horse

    Hollow Horse Well-Known Member

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    In hindsight I wish I had entitled this Southpaw Grammar after the Morrissey album!

    [​IMG]

    Tenuous I know but leaning towards cack-handed grammar.